2023 NBA Draft: Portland Trail Blazers select Scoot Henderson with No. 3 overall pick

Trail Blazers make Scoot Henderson the seventh G League Ignite player selected since program launched in 2018

NEW YORK — The Portland Trail Blazers selected G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson with the third overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft on Thursday night after the Charlotte Hornets took Brandon Miller at No. 2.

Henderson is the second top-five pick to be selected from the G League Ignite after the Houston Rockets drafted Jalen Green with the No. 2 pick in 2021 and is the seventh player to be drafted since the program launched in 2018. He became the first and youngest player to sign a two-year deal with the Ignite in 2021, reportedly over $1 million. Henderson averaged 17.6 points, 6.6 assists and 5.1 rebounds in 30 minutes over 19 games for the Ignite this past season.

Henderson told reporters after his selection that he wasn't concerned with his draft position.

"Yeah, I didn't really pay too much attention to that. I paid attention to what mattered and that was the work that went into being here to this day," he said. "If they do decide to trade or do whatever with the pick, man, I'm just going to continue to work, control what I can.

"... I'm glad to see Brandon go there [to Charlotte at No. 2]. I'm pretty sure it's a great fit for him. That's how I move. I move with love. I'm not mad that I didn't go two or I didn't go one. I'm blessed to go three, and to be here with my family with me."

Henderson went head-to-head with Victor Wembanyama in a pair of games last October with both players exceeding expectations and playing at a high level. Henderson led the Ignite to a 122-115 win in the first game while netting 28 points and nine assists in 31 minutes.

Scoot Henderson reacts after being selected third overall by the Portland Trail Blazers during the 2023 NBA Draft on June 22, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Scoot Henderson reacts after being selected third overall by the Portland Trail Blazers during the 2023 NBA Draft on June 22, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

"I’ve been following him for 1-2 years, and out of all the prospects in our class, he’s my favorite player," Wembanyama told reporters in October. "He’s the most reliable guard in our class, and he’s really a great player. If I was never born, I think he would deserve the first spot."

During the pre-draft process, Henderson spent time with Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry and entered into a mentorship with the all-time leading 3-point scorer.

"Just learning from him, his different habits, seeing how hard he works, was great," Henderson said at the NBA Draft Combine. "I see how he has his family business, the SC30 and everything, and that's what I want to build with my family, as well."

The 6-foot-2 guard out of Georgia is an instant impact player and someone the Trail Blazers can plug in right away. Henderson acknowledged the uncertainty surrounding Damian Lillard's status with the team, stemming from reports this offseason that Lillard wants the Blazers to go all-in to compete for a title.

"I think I can coexist with anybody," Henderson told Yahoo Sports. "I think I can fit in anywhere and I can play either the 2 or the 1, it really doesn't matter. I can play anywhere on the floor and still find ways to impact the game."

Henderson played two years in the G League with NBA rules and spacing and has dominated competition at times with the way he facilitates for others.

"We play against pros every night and guys that killed college, guys that killed overseas, guys that are going up and down in the league, coming down just to play against us, to show that they can dominate draft picks or whatever the case may be. That's why I always [stay] prepared," Henderson said Thursday night.

"We learned a lot of things at the beginning of the season that has nothing to do with skill set, things that go on behind closed doors of basketball, the business of it. Just learned how to be a pro, like I said, on the court and off the court. So it was special. It was a special two years."